26th November 2022 – (Al Ain) The Hong Kong men’s Rugby Sevens team, which was involved in the controversial National Anthem blunder earlier, took part in the Asian Sevens Series on Saturday (26th). The final round of the Asia Rugby Sevens Series 2022 takes place in Al Ain UAE from 26th-27th November 2022.
The Hong Kong team played against Malaysia in Group A. At 2 minutes and 10 seconds into the match, the logo of the Hong Kong team displayed during the live broadcast on the official website of the Asian Rugby suddenly changed from “Hong Kong Rugby Union” to “National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka”. The Hong Kong team finally won with the score of 38:7.
National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka (IOC code: SRI) is the National Olympic Committee representing Sri Lanka. It is also the body responsible for Sri Lanka’s representation at the Commonwealth Games. The 2022 Asia Rugby Sevens Series was the thirteenth edition of Asia’s continental sevens circuit. The lower-tier Trophy tournament, hosted in Indonesia, served as a qualifier, with the top team qualifying for the main series hosted in Thailand, South Korea, and UAE.
Hong Kong Sports Federation and Olympic Committee issued new guidelines recently after a blunder at an Asian Rugby sevens game in South Korea earlier this month, when a song linked to the violent protests of 2019 “Glory to Hong Kong’ was played instead of the national anthem. The guidelines state that athletes and the team should call for an immediate correction if the national anthem isn’t played properly, and should leave the competition venue if the mistake is not rectified. A ‘T hand sign’ must be displayed when the error occurs. However, in this case, the error happened on the live broadcast and it is unlikely the players were aware of the mistake.
On 22nd November, the Chief Secretary for Administration of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), Mr Chan Kwok-ki, met with the President of Asia Rugby, Mr Qais Abdulla Al Dhalai, who specially paid a visit to Hong Kong from Dubai, in the afternoon today. The latter explained in person the incident about the playing of a song closely associated with the widespread violent protests and “Hong Kong independence” in 2019 during a session that the National Anthem of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) should have been played at the final between Hong Kong and South Korea of the Asia Rugby Sevens Series’ second leg held in Incheon, South Korea on 13th November. He said that the incident was due to a human error, entirely without any political or malicious intent, from a junior member of the local organiser concerned. He totally agreed that the national anthem is the symbol and sign of a nation and must be respected on all occasions, hence his apology extended in person to the Government and people of the HKSAR, and undertook to ensure no similar mistake will happen again.